2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

The 2011 season was an incredibly difficult year for all of the Pinot Noir growers Freeman works with. From spring frosts, to late spring rains, to a freezing cold summer similar to 2010, to a cool September with early rains, everything pointed to a tiny crop of less than ideally ripe fruit. However, because of the small amount of fruit on the vines in 2011, it did ripen fully in spite of all the climatic challenges. We’re very happy with the 2011 harvest at Freeman.

The vineyards that went into our 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir represent a broad selection of the appellation, from one side to the other. The largest contributor this year was John and Donna Loftus’ Harmony Lane Vineyard near the town of Occidental. We first started working with Harmony in 2010. The Connell Vineyard was next in terms of percentage of the blend. It’s a site near Petaluma that we’ve enjoyed sourcing from since 2006. William Rayhill’s vineyard on Falstaff Road, a favorite of ours since 2004, made up 18% of the 2011 Sonoma Coast.

Leonard and Gerry Guidici’s vineyard on Bittner Road yielded less than half a ton per acre in 2011, but still produced some elegant Pinot with excellent acidity. Then the last two vineyards in this year’s Sonoma Coast are the Campbell and La Cruz vineyards stretching from the far northwestern corner of the Sonoma Coast all the way to the southeastern tip of the appellation.

The 2011 Freeman Sonoma Coast has a light garnet color, and a true Sonoma Coast nose of loamy earthy, fall leaves and spicy black cherry. It is very similar to the 2010 Freeman Sonoma Coast in its beautifully approachable palate and soft tannins. There’s an inviting texture to this round and supple wine, with bright plum and tobacco flavors that add to its intrigue. The refined finish has a noticeably lower alcohol than in most vintages and near perfect acidity. Although it’s already drinking very well, it should be at its best from 2014 to 2020.

Specs

Vineyards
  • 23% Harmony Lane
  • 22% Connell
  • 18% Rayhill
  • 15% Guidici
  • 12% Campbell
  • 10% La Cruz
Fermentation
Five-day cold soak in open-top fermenters, hand punched down one to three times per day, free run sent directly to barrel, press wine settled and barreled separately
Barrel Aging
11 months in French oak
  • 32% new
  • 35% one-year-old
  • 26% two-year-old
  • 7% three-year-old
Bottling
August 2012
Production
  • 750 ml: 1320 cases
  • 1.5 L: 23 cases

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